Archive for: April, 2007

Thank You (Again), John Stewart

Apr 25 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

From last night's Daily Show - it's right at the end of the video embedded below the fold.

McCain: You tell any enemy when you're leaving, and they'll say, "Right, fine, we'll just wait until you leave and we'll take over."

Stewart: But that assumes that we're fighting one enemy...

McCain: That's not too complicated

Stewart: . ... they're fighting each other. It's not. We're there keeping them from killing each other. We're not surrendering to an enemy that's defeated us. We're saying, how do you quell a civil war when it's not your country?

McCain: I'm saying that we're paying a very heavy price...

[Massive audience applause interrupts him.]

McCain: I think I know...

Stewart: And the thing is the tickets... the tickets are free.

McCain: I think I know who's side they're on.

Stewart: No. They're on America's side, because they're patriots.

Thank you, Mr. Stewart.

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8 responses so far

A Pleasant Surprise.

Apr 24 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

My wife, it would seem, pulled a fast one on me. She was released from her unit in Iraq a few days ago, but she didn't mention that to me. Instead, she just came home. Around 2:45 this afternoon, she called me from the kids school - she had just picked them up and was wondering if I could come give her a ride home.

So, if you haven't guessed, there's a good chance that blogging is going to be a little light for the next few days.

13 responses so far

Would the Real "Michael Egnor" Please Stand Up.

Apr 23 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

Over the weekend, another "Egnor" post appeared on the Discovery Institute blog. This one addresses a post I wrote two weeks ago discussing the "Framing Science" article. In his "response," "Egnor" manages to completely distort pretty much everything about my article, in a way that is so ham-fistedly inept that it is simply impossible for me to continue to believe that the "Michael Egnor" articles are being written by a real person who really believes what he (or she) writes.

(For the record, I'm neither a "prominent Darwinist" nor a "prominent scientist." Also, there are only two possible ways that someone could claim that "find a way to get people who aren't interested in the science behind an issue to care about the issue itself" is the same thing as "recruit people who don't care about science to the cause of Darwinism." The author either has a level of respect for honesty that falls below the Roveian, or he has the reading comprehension skills of a repeatedly concussed chipmunk. In either case, I have real problems believing that it's coming from a reportedly well-respected neurosurgeon.)

It's been fun while it lasted, but the game's over now. Would whoever is really writing this stuff please take this opportunity to own up to it? Please? Come on, I know it's got to be someone who is a regular here.

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7 responses so far

Good Morning, Mr. President, You've Got a Message.

Apr 23 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

Reality called. He's wondering if you're ever going to get back in touch.

Earlier today, the President met with Gen. Petraeus (the commander of all forces in Iraq) in the Oval Office. The media was there for the photo op, and the President took a couple of questions. His answers were nothing short of amazing - they were hysterically amusing, right up until the point when I remembered that this guy really is the President, and really does have access to launch codes. The first of the two questions covered the supplemental war funding bill, and the second covered the Attorney General's amazing Senate testimony.

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10 responses so far

Monday Morning Roundup.

Apr 23 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

The theme for today is "accidental humor." In that category, we have a potential television entry later on today, a product that gives new meaning to "invigorating showers," the Kremlin trying to prove that they've got less of a grasp on reality than we do, the President upping the ante on the Kremlin twice in two questions, and an Uncommon Descent speculation on meaninglessness. Oh, and in the unfunny category we've got some helpful suggestions on how to manage pdf files.

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But why should we save the Wiliwili

Apr 22 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

This is a repost. Specifically, it's the second of four posts from my old blog about the effects of an invasive insect on an endemic tree in the Hawaiian Islands. I moved the first in the series here last week; the remaining two will follow over the next few days. Once I've moved all of the relevant posts over here, I'll be posting an update on the situation.

One of the comments that was inspired by my earlier post on the invasive gall wasps that are threatening some native Hawaiian plants raised a point that is worth responding to in detail, since it comes up fairly often both in arguments with anti-evolutionists and in discussions about the costs and benefits associated with conservation efforts.

"Big Bill" said:

"And further, letting foreign people plants and animals in always increases diversity. Sure, some native peoples, plants, and animals will die out, but it's not like they have any right to the land. There is no God-given title. If the native peoples, plants and animals cannot compete and survive, that is their fault. It's Darwin in action."

Bill's statement does capture a basic fact about the biological effects of invasive species: if the invasive species outcompetes the natives, resulting in the extinction of the native species, it is simply a case of natural selection. I cannot argue with that. There are some who might claim that situations involving invasives do not count, because the invasive arrived as the result of human intervention rather than "naturally". I dislike that argument, both because it ignores the fact that the effects would probably have been the same regardless of the mode of arrival and because it implies that humans aren't really part of nature.

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3 responses so far

I think I'm going to cry for my country - after I stop laughing at my government.

Apr 20 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

John Stewart really got it right on Wednesday - this administration is really making him obsolete. There's no need for commentary anymore - if you want to get laughs, it's just a matter of figuring out which clips to show today. Yesterday's breakthrough accidental comedian was Alberto Gonzales - a man who seems to have set out to prove that he's got a bigger problem with short term memory than Drew Barrymore did in 50 First Dates.

The counts vary, but most estimates have the AG failing to recall various things - like dates, meetings, reasons for firing people - by one count, more than 70 times during the course of a seven hour hearing. One memory lapse per six minute interval might not sound too bad, but remember - this is a Senate hearing. It's not like Gonzales was doing most of the talking.

At this point, it's really hard to judge which particular moment during the Gonzales hearing was actually the funniest. I sure can't - so I'm going to let you decide.

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7 responses so far

What is the nonbeliever to make of death?

Apr 20 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

...the times have been,

That, when the brains were out, the man would die,

And there an end; but now they rise again,

--William Shakespeare


Act 3, Scene 4

PZ just drew my attention - again - to Dinesh D'Souza. Both PZ and I were a bit annoyed by his diatribe against atheists a couple of days ago. Unfortunately, D'Souza is not a man content to drink only once from that bottomless well of stupidity - he just keeps going back for more. Paul already took a few good shots at some of the more ethically impaired aspects of Dinesh's diatribe (for someone who is savaging atheism on behalf of religion, D'Souza displays a remarkable lack of intellectual honesty). I'm not going to duplicate Paul's efforts there. Instead, I'm just going to try to answer - again - the question that D'Souza keeps asking:

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7 responses so far

Every time I think I find hope, it gets dashed.

Apr 19 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

Watching Keith Olbermann tonight, I learned that Karl Rove said something nauseatingly dishonest when asked about the decision to go to war in Iraq. When asked whose idea it was to launch a preemptive war in Iraq, Rove replied - and I'm not making this up - "I think it was Osama bin Laden's."

OK. I wish that I had made that one up, but I can't honestly say that it really surprised me. Rove has revealed, time after time, that he has absolutely no scruples when it comes to pushing his point of view. It's clear to even the most casual of observers that Rove has at most a passing acquaintance with the concept of "truth." Rove has become a symbol of everything that is wrong with politics in America, and there is a very, very, good reason for that.

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30 responses so far

That had to hurt.

Apr 19 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

A word of advice for White House staffers: when John Stewart has to take a second or two to tell viewers that he's not making things up, you might have a serious problem:

Stewart: "So far, at least five four-star generals have declined the position, some citing that this administration -- and this is true -- doesn't appear to know what it's doing. To address this...." [audience laughter and applause] "...The generals said that. That's the generals saying that, and you know I never go against my commanders in the field."

When he has to do it twice in a single monologue, things are probably going downhill really fast:

Stewart: "To address this... problem... the White House is - and this is also true - changing the job's title from "czar" to "execution manager."

And when he says this, it's time to update resumes and jump ship:

Stewart: "I mean, at this point this administration is making me obsolete."


The rest of the segment is pretty good, too.

One response so far

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